Lewis Selected for Western Regional Procurement Office

Posted on 9/2/20 12:21 AM


As you may know from ongoing information from the State System of Higher Education, as part of State System Redesign, a Regional Procurement Shared Service model is being developed.

I am pleased to share with you today that IUP's Procurement Services Director, Jennifer Lewis, has been selected to take the lead for the Western Regional Procurement Office. Jeff Mandel will be her counterpart for the Eastern Regional Procurement Office.

The goal of the model is to create a best-in-class procurement services operation for all universities in the State System to promote collaboration, streamline operations to create efficiencies, offer new opportunities for growth and professional development for staff, and reduce costs across all universities. This Shared Service model also allows a greater economy of scale for the procurement operations, including opportunities to have specialty positions that deal with unique procurement requests.

Jennifer's selection speaks to the great work that she and her team continue to provide to IUP. I feel confident that she will provide this same level of leadership and expertise in this new role.

While Lewis will be actively working to establish this regional office starting immediately, procurement services to IUP will continue as currently offered. It is our intention to make this a seamless transition, with no interruption to service to IUP.

The Western Regional Procurement Office will formally begin operations in January 2021. Initially, IUP, California and Clarion universities will work together in this shared service model; Edinboro and Slippery Rock universities will be added in Phase 2 of the western implementation plan.

IUP's Central Stores will continue to be supervised by Lewis for the near future but will remain an office serving just IUP; it will not be part of the Shared Service Center.

This Shared Services model has been piloted at Bloomsburg University, providing procurement services to four other universities and delivering efficiencies and savings.

While procurement staff at IUP and at other universities will become employees of the Shared Service Center, reporting to the ELG (the chancellor and the 14 university presidents), all procurement employees will retain their current benefits, with expanded tuition benefits across the State System. Employees in procurement services will continue to work at their current university, remotely, or via a hybrid approach.

State System representatives will be holding Town Hall meetings in October to answer questions and provide more information about the new organization.

I want to recognize the phenomenal work that our procurement office has demonstrated, particularly, their work this year to assist in IUP's responsiveness to the coronavirus and preparing for this fall semester. They rolled up their sleeves and worked really well as a team, in coordination with many of you and your staff. I am very proud of our procurement team and know that they will provide an outstanding job in their roles in this Western Regional Procurement Office for not only IUP, but for the other western schools.

If you have questions or concerns about this initiative, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Best Regards,

Debra L. Fitzsimons
Vice President for Administration and Finance